Sanusi – Kramat Karam

May 10, 2007

dendang.jpgI thought I’d update mid-week with a pretty solid example of mid-20th century Indonesian krontjong.

Krontjong (in relatively equal amounts spelled kronjong, kroncong, keroncong, and kerontjong) is slightly over a century old, and is an urban folk music. Ethnomusicologists would call it a syncretic music, as it developed over time from a variety of cultural influences, such as Portuguese, Batavian, African, and Malay – all of which were present in one form or another in turn of the century Indonesia.

Known for its languid rhythm, Hawaiian “walking guitar,” and partially improvised violin runs, the style was first recorded in 1904, but musically hit its stride and popularity in the 1930s. By the 1940s, independent Indonesian labels began to appear such as Dendang (pictured here), Irama, and Serimpi, and hundreds if not thousands more krontjong records were released, joining the large amount already available from HMV, Odeon, and other companies.

In my personal experience, I’ve found it difficult to track down much krontjong on 78 outside of Indonesia, nor has much, if any, early krontjong music been re-released on CD. I’ve always found it unique – it often sounds like two bands playing completely separate arrangements of the same song, and somehow landing on their feet.

Sanusi – Kramat Karam

For more information on the history of krontjong, take a peek at pages 207-210 of Peter Manuel’s essential text, Popular Musics of the Non-Western World, as well as the always entertaining Paul Vernon, and his article Kronjong Silver.

Technical Notes
Label: Dendang
Issue Number: XBK.007
Matrix Number: IMC.302

5 Responses to “Sanusi – Kramat Karam”

  1. Bill C. said

    Excellent stuff, as usual!

  2. sroden said

    great blog, these recordings are absolutely wonderful. i occasionaly load 78’s on my own blog – http://inbetweennoise.blogspot.com – mostly old music related photos and other junk… this track in particular is stellar. thanks for posting these.

  3. Ian Nagoski said

    breathtaking.

  4. Bambang said

    Great blog. Krontjong (or Keroncong in Indonesian’s new spelling system) is said to have influence from traditional Portuguese. While it’s no so popular among youngsters anymore, it still have fans in the older community especially in small towns in Java.

  5. vaubu said

    Would you be up for reuping this JW?

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